BFI logo











Screenonline banner
KS3 Science: Strength and Agility of Insects, The (1911)

Insects can't really juggle, can they?

Main image of KS3 Science: Strength and Agility of Insects, The (1911)
Author Ryan Deneven-Lewis
Topic Adaptation, Insects
Curriculum linksNC KS3 SC2 Life Processes and Living Things

Various insects juggle tiny objects.

This unexpected short film offers a light-hearted way into discussing adaptation.



Percy Smith's films of insects juggling various tiny objects caused a real furore when they were first shown in 1908. How do students react to The Strength and Agility of Insects (1911)?

Shown at the end of a lesson on adaptation, this film offers a witty way of rounding off a class. Do pupils think that the insects are capable of doing what they see or not (you can direct them to the analysis of the film on the right hand menu, for more information about the filming methods)?


Some more ideas

  • With the exception of the octopus any animal with a backbone cannot be tested on or used in science without a license. In contrast, any animal without a backbone, including insects, can be tested on freely. Why do pupils think this is so? What do they think about this film in the context of the 'animal rights' debate?
Video Clips
Complete film (3:58)

Related Films and TV programmes

Thumbnail image of Strength and Agility of Insects, The (1911)Strength and Agility of Insects, The (1911)

Read more about this film

See also